Scarlet Letter Dialectical Journal
“Like anything that pertains to crime, it seemed never to have a youthful era… a wild rose-bush, in this month of June, with delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner as he went in” (Hawthorne 45).
Hawthorne describes the door of the jail, as well as the rose bush to the side of it. I feel as if this is supposed to represent what Hester is about the experience: the harsh Puritan judgment, or the old door, along with the acceptance of certain people along her path, as represented by the rose bush.
“An Indian in his native garb was standing there; but the red men were not so infrequent visitors of the English settlements” (Hawthorne 56).
“Red men” shows the time period, and the treatment of Native Americans at the time. Puritans had just arrived in the New World, and they use derogatory terms to describe things that are unfamiliar to them. This quote provides background information on the time period.
“like a man chiefly accustomed to look inward, and to whom external matters are of little value and import, unless they bear relation to something within his mind” (56).
This quote is describing the first time Hester’s husband sees her with the scarlet letter on her chest. Hawthorne immediately describes his character, rather than letting the reader find out through judgment on how the character treats other people. This quote is a very distinctive description; Chillingworth is not a typical Puritan, he seems to be much more open-minded.
A writhing horror twisted itself across his features, like a snake gliding swiftly over them, and making one little pause, with all its wreathed intervolutions in open sight. His face darkened with some powerful emotion” (56).
A creepy and disturbed tone is created in this excerpt, using words like “writhing,” “horror,” “twisted, and “darkened.” It also creates imagery and gives insight on how